Set against the mysterious backdrop of voodoo mythology, Shadow Man puts you in the role of Mike LeRoi, English Literature graduate now turned assassin, operating within the dark and seedy underworld of New Orleans. LeRoi has the ability to, at will, cross over into Deadside, the world of the dead, where he becomes the Shadow Man - an immortal voodoo-warrior with astonishing powers.
The game begins with a dream - a prophetic nightmare vision of Armageddon, as seen by Mama Nettie, the voodoo sorceress who created the Shadow Man by forcibly implanting the powerful Shadowmask in Mike LeRoi's chest. In her dream, Nettie foresees the coming of the Apocalypse. Her only weapon against the coming storm is the Shadow Man, who she charges with the task of stepping across the veil into Deadside to the place where all killers are consigned when they die...the Asylum. Inspired by the Acclaim Comics/Hero titles of the same name and developed by Iguana UK, Shadow Man embraces the extremely mature content of the comic-book. This is not one for the kiddies. Originally released on the N64, PC and Playstation which garnered poor reviews, Shadow Man has now made it to the Dreamcast. Has it improved over the other consoles? Mostly, but there are still some issues that Iguana did not address.
In a nutshell, Shadow Man follows a third-person action adventure formula now made famous by the Tomb Raider series on the Playstation.
The character models have not been revamped in order to take advantage of the Dreamcast's power. Instead what you get is a high resolution of what was presented on the N64. While in third-person this is not really a factor, the cut scenes show lack of detail that we now expect on Dreamcast.
The environments on the other hand are down quite well. The textures are tight and truly convey the creepy surroundings of Deadside and the Louisiana Bayou. The sky is quite impressive as blood red and sets the creepy tone even further. The whole feel of the game is quite gruesome from snarling dogs to decapitated corpses. While it is not on the same level as the horrific Resident Evil series, Shadow Man manages quite a few frights and jumps here and there. Two complaints about the graphics are in order. The game is so damn dark that at times it is difficult to figure out where the hell you are. I found myself turning up the brightness on my screen so I could see everything. Another problem is there are times when the game slows down and it is pretty bad. This holds especially true in areas where you must swim. It would have been beneficial if Acclaim had ironed out these graphical annoyances.
The soundtrack and sound effects are downright scary and add a very eerie ambience to the surrounding environments. From snarling dogs to moaning corpses, nothing has been left out. Unfortunately the sound poses a problem to the game. Since the levels are so big and that they are loaded into the memory, the sound is streamed off the disk. The problem is it has not been done effeciently and what you get is music and sound effects dropping off randomly throughout the game. This problem with the sound also causes a drop in frame rate and it is noticeable. While it does not detract from what is happening on the screen, it is annoying after playing for a couple of hours.